African-American revenge

December 14, 2017



96% of African-American Alabamians voted against Roy Moore.
98% of African-American women voted against Moore.


Part of a historical memory. Doug Jones prosecuted the Klansman who was responsible for the  murder of the four children in Birmingham 1963.


70% of white Alabamians voted Moore including 63% of white women despite Moore’s creepy history with underage women.
Most know the brutal cracker, Jim Crow history of Alabama.
This was payback time even though Moore said that “God is always in control.” Some theology.The same theology that is dragging the evangelical community into irrelevance if not heresy.


It shows the importance of voter registration and getting voters to the polls.
The same strategy will defeat Trump. Arguing with these people is counter-productive.

Don’t water the rocks.


Ex NBA star and Alabama-native Charles Barkley urged fellow citizens to stop looking like idiots.




Barkley was dead on in his warning to Democrats: this is a wake up call. We’ve been stuck in a time warp for a long time.The Dems have taken the black vote and poor vote for granted for far too long.


Barkley was  spot on in his criticism of the Clintons’ embrace of Wall Street and their amnesia regarding the Democratic history.The reason for donald Tump was hilary Clinton.

It’s time to get off their ass and make life better for blacks and poor white people.


The blind evangelicals

December 13, 2017

The Mayor of Bethlehem asks why Are U.S. Christians Celebrating Israeli Policies Strangling Jesus’ Birthplace?


The world refers to the land of Jesus and the cradle of Christianity as “the land of peace.” The political reality today is quite the opposite. There are no words to describe the incarceration of Jesus’ birthplace, Bethlehem. It is enclosed by 18 illegal Israeli settlements, segregated road networks and infrastructures. Bethlehem’s 2,000-year-old contiguity with Jerusalem has been cut by a network of Israeli settlements and annexation, which also prevents the town from ever expanding further.


We, the people of Bethlehem, have been separated from our hinterland, denied our right to control our natural resources and forced to cross Israeli checkpoints even to move within Palestine. Left with limited control over just 13 percent of its governorate, Bethlehem is an example of what 50 years of Israeli occupation have meant for Palestine and Palestinians in general, and to the Christians of the Holy Land in particular. ronically, in a few days, significant numbers of Christian evangelicals, mainly from the U.S., will come to celebrate those same Israeli policies strangling the birthplace of Jesus Christ.




The Prime Minister’s Office has joined efforts with various agencies normalizing Israeli violations of international law, including the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the so-called Jerusalem municipality, to bring in “Christian media” representatives. The conference, to be held in an Israeli hotel built on Palestinian, illegally confiscated land in occupied East Jerusalem, includes a tour in support of the illegal wall which surrounds Bethlehem. They will also be taken to the lands of Beit Jala, to visit the illegal settlement of Gilo, thus supporting Israel’s destruction of the Cremisan Valley and the dispossession of dozens of Palestinian Christian families.



As a descendant of one of Bethlehem’s oldest Christian families, I was taught that Christianity’s message of is one of love, peace and justice. That’s the message we celebrate here every Christmas. The message of this conference, however, will be one of succor to oppression and apartheid. Participants will bestow their “divine blessing” on the illegal policies of the Israeli government – violations under international law.  This conference is not only an attempt to normalize the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but also part of the systematic Israeli strategy to exploit religion and holy texts as a political tool.


Abuse of scripture



A few weeks ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the Bible to justify the Israeli occupation at the United Nations, just as several members of the Israeli cabinet continue to incite against the Palestinian people, referencing a “divine right” to take over our homeland. This is a dangerous trend that aims at turning a political question into a religious war. When Netanyahu addressed the U.S. Congress in 2011 he said, referring to the occupied West Bank, that “this is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel … No distortion of history can deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.”


Sadly, we didn’t hear American religious leaders challenging Netanyahu to stop using his Biblical interpretations to justify a land grab. It reminds me of the dark period when South Africa’s apartheid regime would use “theological” arguments to justify its racist policies. History has shown that there is nothing divine in the violation of another people’s rights. Certainly, participation in a crime shouldn’t be called a “blessing.”


As the newly elected mayor of Bethlehem I witness on a daily basis the effects of the blind support of Israel given by my Christian co-religionists. How fundamentalist theological positions are used to justify injustice. But no church worthy of its name should offer a theological smoke screen for the denial of our most basic rights as Palestinians.


To those who choose to stand on the oppressor’s side, I ask them to remember our origins as Christians, and to resurrect the universal message of hope born in a grotto in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Only when human dignity is respected and equal rights are granted, only when the Israeli occupation is over and Palestinians are able to achieve their full potential on their own land, will we be able to say that peace has returned to the land of peace.



Anton Salman, a lawyer, was elected this year as the mayor of Bethlehem.

Would Jesus vote for Roy Moore?

December 12, 2017

Peter DeRosa one of the smartest theologians I know
sent this to the Boston Globe…and he lives in Bournemouth, UK


Ah, the digital age




Nothing in the Gospels is clearer. Whoever votes for Roy Moore forfeits the name of Christian.

Jesus said: ‘Whatever you do to the least of my little ones you do to Me.’
Vote for Moore and you victimize Christ.
Jesus said: ‘Whoever abuses one of my little ones, it were better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea.’
Vote, if you wish, for Roy Moore on the advice of a self-confessed sex abuser. But immediately admit you victimize Christ.
Jesus says to you what he said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan … you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’

Heartless I’d say

December 11, 2017

Maureen Clare Murphy, a Chicagoan edits the Electronic Intifada bringing us news that’s really fit to print. Last week she got off a good one entitled Heartwarming or Heartless. The pic shows a member of the occupying army of Israel shaking hands with two young Palestinians. Now these young soldiers are not monsters. I’ve talked to a few of them. They are just brainwashed dupes doing the dirty work of the apartheid state.


Now this picture sent out by COGAT a propaganda arm of Israel stands for “Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories”. It is all part of what Israelis call hasbara and which othefs call “the bull shit brigate.”Like Putin’s propagandists, COGAT is all over Facebook spreading its lying nonsense.




This warm and fuzzy is obscene. It exists to whitewash a a very cruel occupation.


Ms Murphy goes on to describe some of the great humaitarian worprk which she writes “paint a fantastical picture of Israel’s rule over millions of Palestinians which bears little resemblance to the brutal reality on the ground.”

The word “coordination” is euphemistically used to describe Israel’s control over Palestinians’ access to health services, ability to trade, or even visit family. It was recently featured as “word of the day” on COGAT’S page.
“Bureaucratic nightmare”
As the occupying power, Israel is fully responsible for the welfare of the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to international law.

“For example, in recent months the permanent lack of radiotherapy for cancer patients, radioactive iodine, or diagnostic equipment was added by shortage in medicine for chemotherapy and difficulties to activate operation rooms due to fuel and electricity shortages,” Palestinian Human Rights stated
The Palestinian rights group Al Mezan stated on Saturday last week, which marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, that “10 women have died since the beginning of 2017 after being denied access to hospitals and appropriate medical treatment outside of Gaza.”

Rather than “easy and fast,” PHRI describes the permit application process for patients in Gaza as “a bureaucratic nightmare.”

On Monday, COGAT posted a heartwarming story about an Iraqi baby who received life-saving treatment in Israel.
“This is the true Israeli humanity,” COGAT boasts.

Palestinian mothers and fathers in Gaza who have had to bury their children after they were denied vital treatment by Israel know the real story.


Other ones who knoews the real story are the husmband and wife team aussies John lyons and Sylvie Le Clezio who just published Balcony Over Jerusalem an exposé of Israeli propaganda


Rod such reviewing their book writes:


Lyons believes Israel is currently winning the media war, despite an ever-worsening image abroad. But with the Internet and mobile phones readily available, he thinks Israel can no longer control the message, a claim that is borne out daily with social media postings by Palestinians suffering the cruelty of the occupation.




“Military occupations look ugly because they are ugly,” Lyons writes. “Israel’s reputation will bleed as long as its control over another people continues.”


He warns: “One day history will catch up with Israel.”


That day is now.




Hands Off Al-Quds/Jerusalem Rally

December 10, 2017


Over 1,000 Stand for International Law, and call the Canadian Government to stand against a Jewish-Only Jerusalem

On Saturday December 9 over a 1,000 people came together in front of the US Consulate  in Toronto to stand for international law, and against a Jewish-only Jerusalem. People from all walks of life, Jews, Christians, Muslims and other faiths, joined together to send the message “Hands Off Al Quds/Jerusalem.” Their message is that USA decision to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the US embassy has innumerable serious consequences.

This emergency rally was one among a number happening across Canada including in Montreal, Ottawa, London, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. All around the world, citizens are coming together in front of US diplomatic office to speak out against Trump’s unilateral and illegal recognition of Jerusalem.

Trump administration’s plans run counter to longstanding international consensus. It is a major violation of many United Nations Security Council resolutions) and the principles of international law, which consider all Israeli actions and laws aimed at changing the legal and historical status of East Jerusalem null and void. These resolutions ban the establishment of diplomatic missions, the transfer of embassies or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

These resolutions consider East Jerusalem as an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967. Any recognition of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying power, the establishment of any diplomatic mission in Jerusalem or its transfer to the city is a violation of International law and the Fourth Geneva Convention

On November 30, 2017, the UN General Assembly last week voted overwhelmingly that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” The rally is important said organizers not only because of the Trump Administration decision, but because, Canada was one of just six countries that voted against this resolution on Jerusalem.

Canadians have clearly spoken that the Canadian government is out of line with public opinion when it comes to Palestine. In a March 2017 EKOS poll, Canadians indicated they believe overwhelmingly that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries violating international law and human rights, and a strong majority of Canadians believe that government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable.
The message is that the Canadian government’s decision not to follow the US example is not enough. Canada has an obligation to condemn the actions of the US government based on Article 1 of the Geneva Convention which requires that Canada “ensure compliance” with the Geneva Convention by other High Contracting Parties.” This makes it essential that the Canadian government issue a clear statement condemning the action of the US government, and to publicly and diplomatically oppose all foreign embassies in Jerusalem.


Speakers were from the Palestinian and Arab communities, the United Church of Canada, the Muslim community, the Jewish community, labour, the Canadian Federation of Students (Ontario), the Christian Peacemaker Teams, Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, Canadian Peace Congress, and others who stand for justice and international law. Over 40 groups endorsed today’s emergency action to speak against the move for a Jewish exclusive Jerusalem, and for a universal city where all are welcome.

Me and Coach Wooden

December 7, 2017


In Canto 3 of Dante’s Divine Comedy the author says

Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?”
And he to me: “This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.


Over the centuries these sentiments got telescoped into something Dante inferred but never said: He put those who are neutral in the everlasting fight between right and wrong in the lowest place in hell.


Dr King probably thinking of Dante however did say  that “ The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”


In two books which I wrote I was critical of the legendary basketball coach John Wooden who was voted the best coach in US history.


Wooden was a beautiful human being, a serious but apolitical Christian who did remain mute in the Vietnam War while his volatile centre Bill Walton left practice to sit in against this horrific war which ended up with the death of probably 2 million Vietnamese civilians, 58,000 US soldiers and over 60 thousand American vets who took their own lives.


My friend Steve bristled at my criticism of Wooden. Now Steve is a basketball nut who had a different take on the coach. i knew very little about Wooden except that he was highly respected at UCLA for 26 years. Steve insisted that Wooden and I had much in common and he asked me to read legendary player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s memoir Coach Wooden and Me.




Well I fell in love with Wooden! And Abdul-Jabbar. This was a great love story! Steve was right. i saw the coach in a different and kinder light. I stopped being judgmental and was able to contextualize the lovely man. His Christianity was genuine though highly American-centric, faith, flag etc. As a WW ll vet he could not break through his nationalism to criticize his country’s murderous debacle in South-east Asia. And he did go ballistic when young Walton with no discernible religion left practice to join sit ins against the war.

I immediately thought of Billy Graham like Wooden a very decent human being, a huge cut above today’s clownish televangelists. He was created by the Luce’s Time Magazine in the late 40s as the perfect evangelist for post-war America. A fine preacher, albeit of emotion-laden altar calls with little substance or analysis behind them. Graham was a dyed-in- the- wool fundamentalist who used his influence to peddle American exceptionalism, military power, and the suburban captivity of the gospel.

As Scottish  preacher George McLeod told him decades ago, “Billy, your theology does not make it past the gate post.” In short Graham was long on emotion and very short on any critical social analysis. He was a status quo man who never did get the civil rights movement, the peace movement or the women’s movements as authentic inroads of God’s Spirit.Civic and political engagement defined me as a vatican ll biblical justice believer.we were in the same church but different pews.

I loved Wooden’s values, most of which I shared. He was a man of deep integrity, humble with rock-solid values He was the real deal. Family,faith and then team and winning. He was in his mid 50s when he coached Abdul-Jabbar.I quit coaching basketball when I was 42! Bigger fish to fry.

Jarvis tornament 67


The 60s were tumultuous.Things were in flux and in many ways John Wooden was caught in this vortex of change. Players who often saw him as time-bound relic, a bit out of touch came to appreciate the profundity of his values. He was no phony. I realized that he did the best he could with his rural Indiana background. Nemo dat quod non habet Aquinas correctly stated. Nobody gives what he does not have. Wooden’s Christianity was deep and personal but lacked a prophetic dimension. He shied away from societal critique. He did however stay true to those personal and individual values. Wooden lived to be 99, loved by so many.

At a personal level and as a former coach I was happy to learn about another side of Coach Wooden. He refused to allow his players to dunk. Me too. We both saw that power move as pure ego, a demeaning and disrespectful gesture to the opposition. Shake hands, coach.



I guess in many ways I  was a moldy fig, out of step with the times but in step with John Wooden.

Thanks, Steve




Israel is dying

December 5, 2017

An Israeli medic sworn to foster life wherever murders a Palestinian.Instead of life in jail this thug gets a 14 month slap on the wrist and in this democracy the head of state supports this Jewish criminal.

Bradley Burston a Haaretz blogger speaks truth to power.


Israel itself is dying. This week, it took a turn for the worse. Don’t say you didn’t know. You’ve known for more than 20 years. As I did. As we all did. And you let it happen. As I did. As we all did. As we all do. Israel is dying of a disease which no one can do anything about. Because as dangerous, as progressively lethal as the symptoms are, no one can do anything about the real cause, which is the doctor: Benjamin Netanyahu. Though they go by many names, we all know the symptoms and signs of the disease. There is the physical, psychological and genetic damage caused by generations of ever-deepening occupation, associated with and exacerbated by creeping annexation, and a behind-the-wall West Bank apartheid which is seeping unchecked into pre-1967 Israel. 


For more than 20 years, Netanyahu the attending healer, the man who more than anyone else could have reversed the illness, has done nothing but made each of the symptoms more damaging and more distant from any proposed cure. This week, though, he outdid himself. This week, a barrage of rabid incitement was levelled squarely at President Reuven Rivlin, a level of extreme-right venom that approached the ferocity of the public-arena hate storm which directly preceded – and led to – the 1995 assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.


It was Netanyahu’s clear responsibility to step in, back Rivlin with unequivocal zeal, and shield the president with the force of his authority and of all the tools of persuasion and law enforcement at his command. So how did Netanyahu respond? With a smirk. In 20-plus years of having himself contributed to incitement against Arabs, against leftists and liberals, against Reform and Conservative American Jews, against human rights groups, against asylum seekers and a host of others, this week Benjamin Netanyahu managed to hit a new low.






At issue was president Rivlin’s rejection of a pardon request by IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, now serving a 14-month sentence for manslaughter following an on-duty incident in the West Bank flashpoint of Hebron. Film taken of the incident showed Azaria, a combat medic, arriving at the scene of a knife attack. Some ten minutes before, a Palestinian assailant wounded an Israeli soldier, and was then shot. When Azaria arrived, the Palestinian was writhing on the ground, incapacitated and disarmed. Azaria then handed his helmet to someone at the scene, cocked his assault rifle, and at the range of a few feet, fired a high-velocity bullet into the assailant’s skull. It should be noted – and I note this as a former IDF combat medic – that before receiving his badge as a field medic,


Azaria, like all medics, swore an oath to provide care to every wounded person, “im ohev o im oyev” – whether a loved comrade or a bitter enemy. He further swore that he would administer treatment with respect, and to consider his “actions with understanding, wisdom, and love of humanity.” It should also be noted, that when then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and army Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot publicly and immediately condemned Azaria’s actions as having violated the army’s rules of engagement and having betrayed the sworn duty of a medic, Netanyahu’s response was resolute. He threw the defense minister under the bus.



Within days, as soon as Netanyahu sensed that his hardline base was firmly behind Azaria, the prime minister made a very public show of embracing Azaria’s whole family, and viewing Azaria as Every [Jewish] Israeli Mother’s Son. And, just to make clear where his loyalties stood, he replaced Ya’alon with a new defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who even showed up at Azaria’s arrest hearing to show support.    This is Netanyahu’s Israel, a place where there is only room for betrayal on the left.


The possibility of betrayal on the right does not exist. In Netanyahu’s Israel, it’s more important to signal that you side with your party colleagues as they spew hate-speech against the president, than it is to stand alongside the president. “I called for a full pardon for Elor Azaria from day one,” Netanyahu concluded in his talk with Likud lawmakers on Monday. “My opinion hasn’t changed.” This is Netanyahu’s Israel, where the doctor is the disease. Where, when your prospective voters call the president “you filthy Nazi” and a fully-fledged traitor of Israel, and the president only of Arabs and leftists, and a lover of terrorists – all because he failed to pardon Elor Azaria – this is the new expression of Real Israeliness


Israel crossed a line this week. Then again, of late, Israel crosses a line every week. The list of the disloyal grows by the day. Arabs and leftists and Reform Jews and rights activists have been joined by the chief of police, the Shin Bet, the Supreme Court, the attorney general, and the state comptroller – to name a few. This is Netanyahu’s Israel.




Where a quarter to a third of the people stand with their ruler no matter what. No matter what segment of Israeli citizens his party demonizes – as long as it’s leftists or Arabs or Reform Jews or Ashkenazim or kibbutznikim or Haaretz readers or Breaking the Silence or B’Tselem or a judge in the army who convicts a potential voter like Elor Azaria. This is the doctor we’ve been assigned. This is the cause of our disease. This is the treatment plan which cannot be changed. This is the entire country which is becoming a hospice. This is the man who is determined to put all of us out of our misery.

Shame on USA Republicans

December 2, 2017

We know that budgets are immoral documents and this is one of the worst.It is gratifying to see some church resistance


The Republican tax bill is not just immoral. It is an act of violence
The Rev Dr William Barber and the Rev Dr Liz Theoharis

Donald Trump and leaders in Congress have enacted one of the most immoral pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. The Republican party has billed its plan as a tax cut for America’s middle class, but it is in fact an act of gross violence against America’s poor to serve the country’s richest and most powerful.


The claim of the cuts is scarcity. But we do not have scarcity of money; we have a scarcity of moral will. We have an abundance of resources that could end poverty for everyone.


Extremist leaders are proposing to give billions in tax breaks to the wealthy, and to pay for it by raising taxes and cutting life-saving services for poor people, working poor people and the most vulnerable among us.
Listen to what the prophets of old in our sacred traditions have to say about this:

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. (Isaiah 10:1-4)
Cutting taxes on the wealthy and eliminating services for the poor and dispossessed has been a plan of white nationalists ever since the days of the southern strategy led by the likes of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms. It is a strategy that those with power and wealth have used throughout history to divide and conquer people at the bottom. What is tragic is the states that are the poorest are the states with the worst voter suppression and the states with the members of Congress most ardently behind this plan.

The very politicians that claim Trump is not stable set aside this assessment to heed his advice when it comes to money. But the Bible says that love of money is the source of all evil.
No one can dispute the fact that this bill being pushed through is full of evil and will have oppressive impacts for which the nation must be warned. This weekend the congressional joint committee on taxation found that while big corporations and millionaires and the heirs of millionaires will benefit, most people making under $75,000 a year will see their tax burdens rise.

Even provisions that one would think would help the working poor – like an expanded child tax credit – are slanted towards the wealthy. A single mother making the minimum wage with two children could claim a $75 tax credit, while a family making six figures will receive thousands in tax cuts.

That is not the only way this bill shifts the burden from the rich to the rest. The legislation would prey on children and families by gutting key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare premiums will rise by 10% over the next decade – meaning a premium increase of $2,000 for middle-class families.

These healthcare cuts will cost lives. About 13 million people will lose coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. We know that for every million people without access to healthcare, 5,000 die preventable deaths. That means our lawmakers and the president of the United States are prepared to sacrifice tens of thousands of lives to deliver a massive tax break to the fortunate few.

We also know these cuts will overwhelmingly hurt many of the white people who voted for them and will have a disparate impact on black people and other people of color.
Meanwhile, the tax cut will add $1.4tn to the national debt, setting the stage for deeper cuts to public goods. In the short term, we could see automatic cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. In the long term, this tax plan will lay the groundwork for massive cuts to social security and other programs that sustain the poor, the elderly, and the most vulnerable among us.

We reach back to our sacred texts that affirm life, love, and justice and condemn such systemic greed.




This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood. (Jeremiah 22:3)


Many of the bill’s champions would tell you that they are Christians who let their religion guide their policymaking. Some might even say they are “pro-life”, while they work furiously to strip people of the healthcare they need to survive. But these lawmakers are passing legislation that is heretical to the more than 2,000 verses that call on all of us to care for the poor and the sick. And they have certainly forgotten the warnings of the Bible to leaders who neglect and oppress the poor.



It’s time to stand up and sound the call for the moral revival our country so desperately needs

The proponents of this bill have promised us that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will “trickle down” to the rest. Not only does history refute this tired talking point, the executives who lead the companies themselves deny they will invest their newfound gains in good jobs that could lift working people and their communities. Instead, companies like Cisco, Pfizer and Coca-Cola have said they will turn most of the gains to their wealthy shareholders in a vicious circle of greed and vice.

We know our nation has a heart problem when our elected leaders would rather fight a war on the poor than a war on poverty. This is bigger than any one bill. Legislation like this could only come so close to fruition in a broken political system.
In the 2016 elections, candidates across parties held 26 debates, and in all those hours there was not one mention of poverty or systemic oppression. The voices of America’s poor have been forgotten by those in power, who continue to push a narrative that the poor are poor through fault of their own.


For things to change poor people and people of conscience will have to stand up by the tens of thousands and demand to be heard. On Monday, we are launching the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a movement of direct action, civil disobedience, voter education and mass mobilization aimed at saving the soul of the nation.

Now, 50 years after Dr Martin Luther King, welfare rights workers and many others called for the original Poor People’s Campaign, there is still much work to be done. Whether the tax bill succeeds or fails, it has given the country’s poor, as well as people of faith and conscience who stand with them, one more reason to stand up and sound the call for the moral revival our country so desperately needs.
The Rev Dr William Barber II and the Rev Dr Liz Theoharis are co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival


Zionism no substitute for Judaism

November 30, 2017

God help the blind man, the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris.



This poor man is pained by the fact that young Jews are expressing “apathy” or outright “hostility” toward Israel. He wonders what his generation did wrong in schools and homes not to convey “a sense of unbridled joy and pride and thrill” in Israel.



In one sense Harris can, and should be proud of some things Israel has done since its inception in 1948—but occupation, ethnic cleansing and blatant discrimination should be causes for self-examination and atonement which Harris seems incapable of.


Harris speaking at Temple Shaaray Tefila, a Reform congregation in Bedford Corners, N.Y., last week was in full bore lamentation:


Every time I hear in a Jewish meeting concerns about our children and their lack of interest in Israel, their apathy about Israel, their hostility to Israel, those friends of theirs who are involved in anti-Israel activity on their campuses or in their schools– to me it’s extraordinarily painful, and I ask myself, Where did we go wrong? Where did we go wrong?


Oh, Mr Harris let me count the ways!


I do have a certain sympathy for his frustration, that Israel’s reputation has latterly turned to rat shit


Why? Why can’t we convey to our own children successfully– why can’t Jewish day schools and synagogues in their after-school programs convey successfully a sense of unbridled joy and pride


Harris then added this howler


I don’t know of another nation that wants peace as much as the nation of Israel. Precisely because, One, it has not known a true day of peace,


Harris’ problem is that he is a stone blind Zionist absolutely unable to come to grips with Israel’s central problem —its failure to acknowledge its original sin, the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 and its continuation of land theft by settlers since 1967.


OC 1


True Zionist believer Harris is unable to see what young Jews see on a daily basis, the brutal oppression of a besieged indigenous population, the shocking murder of innocents in Gaza of 2014. This you cannot hide anymore. The apartheid state up till now has been successful with its propaganda but with cell phone technology, computerization and Facebook, the ugly curtain has been pulled back and young Jews like the young everywhere see the world through the lens of human rights and as far as Israel’s behaviour is concerned, it ain’t pretty.


atme for peace replied to Harris on the Mondoweiss website: Israel just doesn’t have anything to inspire a young jew to love or stand up for.


Eljay wrote: I wouldn’t expect you or anyone else to argue that Israel is or should be a “perfect” country. But what it shouldn’t be is a deliberately and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state.
Annie Robbins: the ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and colonization — that’s what it is. it’s natural for young people to want to disassociate from war crimes and massive human rights violations. … Harris should know that most young people with even a minor understanding of the principles of democracy understand it to be representative of all the people, not just people of one ethnicity… but it is downright abusive towards. 
it boggles my mind he doesn’t get this. this ‘why?’ and ‘what is it?’ approach — he could easily find out these answers if he just speaks to young people. it’s kind of a no-brainer.


Finally, the Paranam Kid sums it up


Mr. Harris, the mere fact that you ask this question means 1 thing and 1 thing only (assuming your question is sincere):
You have had your head in a cloud, living in an ivory tower, because it is now painfully obvious that Israel’s lies, justified & prettily dressed up by the incessant stream of Hasbara, has become repulsive to young Jews, who, unlike their (grand)parents, have a more realistic view of that Apartheid state that subjugates a people & works at their slow extermination.
You should be ashamed of yourself for even needing to ask the question, considering your position in the American Jewish community.


Harris seemingly has lost touch with the universal aspects of Judaism, the Deuteronomic (16:20) imperative of tzedek, tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice you shall seek. He has allowed a piece of land in the Middle East to become  the golden calf an idolatrous substitution for the the ethical demands of the Holy One of Israel. The first commandment of the Mosaic decalogue “You shall have no other gods before me.” is suborned on a daily basis in Palestine. A serious Jew would name this false god for what it is.Sadly Harris’ zionism trumps his Judaism.


Holy Saturday came early

November 28, 2017


COVERThe SeasonEfficiency, technique, drill, new plays, scouting, coaching manuals. All this was mere prose to me. I was interested in poetry and the mystery of the human person. Most coaches it appeared to me had the words while I was interested in the music.

The Season p.26


On Saturday  November 25 at 2 PM I returned  as an older pilgrim to a special formative place of my teaching life, the gym at the old Mimico High school, now a middle school called John English.

MimicoCentral StG


i was astonished as so many people from my past crowded in for the launch of The Season a book i wrote about our extraordinary 45 and 1 season 50 years ago. Each surviving player, six of them, wrote their memories of the year and I added some  journal entries I had of that annus mirabilis.


One of the guards from that team Don Crocker reminded me of a line from Freddy Shero of the Philly Flyers as they were about to play for the Stanley Cup: “Win tonight and you walk with these men forever.” Anybody who played sports knows the truth of this statement. Bonds are created and not easily sundered.




Before the official program started which included  a showing of the film Basketball which played on the CBC in May of 1967 and was introduced by the director Don Shebib, the gym was alive with animated conversations. However in the back of my mind I was hearing Bob Dylan singing Just Like a Woman


Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

And Absolutely Sweet Marie and  and especially Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

Sadeyed Lady of the Lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?


Dylan’s epic album Blonde on Blonde had just been released and that became the soundtrack of our practice.

We had but seven players and I wanted to press the whole game. That meant these kids must be in shape. Run them till they almost dropped. I did to Blonde on Blonde

At our Jubilee meal 50 years later they all reminded me of that.



The afternoon became a dreamscape for me. The local Etobicoke paper,The Guardian  gave the event a big play, a warm feel good story, well told by reporter Cynthia Reason. It was a Canadian David and Goliath tale of a small school which for one year became virtually unbeatable. along with the players’ reflections I added the rest, a kind of an essay on how I understood coaching, best summed up from this line from J.D. Salinger


Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he never wrong?” (Seymour: An Introduction).



So the basketball court for me was on fire with meaning. With these young men in this small box of a gym in a suburb of Toronto a hardwood floor became a temple of transcendence. What we were doing was important. This personality building experience was an event of cosmic importance. I had moved from room 206 to a gym – “from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next.”


I was very lucky to meet as principal of John English Middle School (the former Mimico High) Craig Howe a fellow educator tilling the sacred soil of the young. Craig immediately resonated with the idea and came in on his weekend to set the gym up. Along with my stellar guard Art Rutledge’s dynamic daughter Jess, they organized the whole event. My beautiful grandchildren sold the $15.00 books.


In my brief remarks I tried to sum up my raison d’etre for the sacred calling I strove to incarnate.
50 years have gone by but the memories remain and the relationships as well.
We were an unbeatable team and as I have often joked I was the guy at the end of the 7 man bench. But it never ended there. I  was also the guy who broke bread and shared my life and passion with them. I knew at the timeI would never have a team like this but it never fazed me. Is this why I coached?

Every team has its wonders and joys, the young people you meet on the holy ground of a hardwood floor.and these ikons of the divine kept showing up every year.they gave me as much pleasure as the 67 team. Two smart point guards,  Mark Fenwick and Gerard Carlse, 10 years apart from my Neil McNeil teams came on Saturday.They knew they were loved just as much.

I wrote many of my Neil players and told them that indeed I was once a basketball coach but now I am just a good friend.

My mantra: Don’t call me coach. That’s American for a one dimensional cartoon. I am a teacher. Sometimes I teach in a classroom, sometimes on a hardwood floor and in summers on a ball diamond. In the latter part of my downward mobile teaching life, I taught on picket lines.
Winning the only thing? Not. What about dying and rising after defeat? What about friendship, way more important than those twin impostors, victory and defeat? What about those twin lubricants, tears and laughter which oil the rough edges of life?
I was given the gift of the pearl beyond price: the player is more important than the game. This lesson I learned from the masters of my youth, common good men, a war vet, an Irish-American priest, a Jewish playground trainer and a nonpareil boy’s club coach, Carmen Bush. i simply played it forward. I cast my bread on the water and it came back a thousand fold.

Holy moments,like the above, sacramental in nature, have accompanied me my entire life. In this regard .I have often quoted the wise words of the German mystic Meister Eckhart (d.1328) which are germane in this context:
If at the end of your life the only prayer you could utter was Thank you, that would have been enough.
Simple gratitude is my response.

To the young men who raced up and down that small Mimico gym, to the small suburban community of Mimico who welcomed ayoung untried latin teacher,vobis multas gratias ago!

Gracias a la vida!

Copies avaalable